Comment Period Open on State Organic Program Registration Requirements

The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s State Organic Program (SOP) is accepting public comments on a recent proposal to expand crop reporting requirements. Comments must be submitted no later than September 11, 2017. 
 
Background
 
The SOP is a state-administered enforcement arm of the National Organic Program (NOP). It investigates complaints of fraud and monitors the organic marketplace to ensure a level playing field for certified organic operations. To assist in its duties, the SOP requires all organic producers to annually register with the state.
 
The proposed rule would alter what information the SOP requires at registration. Specifically, the proposed rule would make the following adjustments:
  • Change the number of crop categories producers must use at registration from six to 30. 
  • Require producers to report acreage and location per crop category. 
 
The purpose of the proposed rule is to assist the SOP in enforcing federal organic standards as well as to provide more data to analyze trends in California’s organic sector. The proposed rule would codify a recent recommendation made by the California Organic Products Advisory Committee (COPAC), which advises the Secretary of CDFA on organic enforcement, outreach, technical assistance, and other programmatic activities. 
 
CCOF at Work for You
 
Last year, CCOF helped reduce the burden of SOP registration with the passage of the CCOF-sponsored California Organic Food and Farming Act (COFFA). COFFA greatly streamlined reporting and other SOP requirements. 
 
CCOF is now closely examining the proposed rule to ensure it would not impose overly burdensome requirements and will submit a timely comment. 
 
Moreover, CCOF is working closely with SOP staff to develop an information sharing system whereby CCOF members would no longer be required to report any information; rather, CCOF would complete all data reporting to the SOP on behalf of its members. 
 
How to Comment
 
If you are interested in weighing in, please submit your comments no later than September 11, 2017. Comments may be submitted by email to steve.patton@cdfa.ca.gov, by fax to (916) 900-5345, or by written comment addressed to:
 
Steve Patton, Branch Chief 
Inspection and Compliance Branch 
California Department of Food and Agriculture 
1220 N Street 
Sacramento, CA 95814 
 
For additional information or assistance submitting a comment, refer to SOP’s notice of proposed rulemaking, initial statement of reasons, or contact the CCOF policy team.
 

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